A NEW report has shown the number of pubs closing has risen to 28 a week – as beer campaigners urge the Government to ‘act now’ to help save the industry.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) unveiled new figures from its Pub Tracker, covering the period April to December 2013, showing that the number of net pub closures in the UK had risen from 26 to 28 per week.
The ‘disappointing’ increase comes as CAMRA called on the Government to press ahead with plans for a ‘pubs watchdog’ to ensure a fair power balance between the large pub companies and their licensees.
Mike Benner, CAMRA’s chief executive, said: “Pubs are unnecessarily closing as tied licensees struggle to make their businesses succeed thanks to increased rents and beer prices.
“It is vital that the Government steps in to redress the balance with the implementation of an independent pubs watchdog and an option for licensees of large pub companies to opt for market rent-only agreements, allowing them to buy beer on the open market at cheaper prices.”
The beer group also called on the closure of planning loopholes to ensure pubs cannot be lost without planning permission being sought.
Mr Benner added: “It is currently possible to convert a pub into a betting shop, payday loan store or supermarket without the need for planning permission, making it far too easy for valued community pubs to be lost. We are pressing the Government to act to close this planning loophole.”
Over the past 30 years, a number of thriving pubs have disappeared from Burton and South Derbyshire.
The Copper Hearth, in Stanton Road, was turned into a Tesco Express in 2012, while just up the road the former Black Horse has been replaced by affordable housing.
It was recently revealed that the Masons Arms, in Burton Road, Midway, was set to become a Sainsbury’s Local.